“We will have to raise prices, we have no choice.“The findings of restaurant owners are clear. In Nice, fast food restaurants see no other options to cope with the soaring cost of sunflower oil. The bill becomes steep, and leaves a bitter aftertaste .
Half of the world production of this oil comes from Ukraine. With the war provoked by Russia, the supply of this raw material became more difficult. In early April, the lack of oil cans on supermarket shelves raised fears of a shortage. However, this stemmed from the fear of consumers, who overstocked the bottles.
Logically, with less oil available on the market, prices have increased. The most impacted in the sector remain the snacks which offer a lot of fried food, especially with kebabs, burgers or tacos. “Before, I paid €18 for my oil cans. Now I’m at 45€,” blows Kevin Dirand, manager of the Have a nice break at the Arenas. “However, I always take the same brand!“
Avoid overstocking with restaurateurs
Christophe Souques-Bonnet, vice-president of the Union of trades and hotel industries (UMIH), confirms this situation. “We have a very strong price increase“, he explains. Yet this is not the only factor that professionals must depend on. “We are limited by our suppliers. You cannot take more than 40 liters per week. For some restaurateurs, this is less disturbing. But for others, it becomes difficult to manage.“
To cope with these restrictions, the organization decided to buy a pallet of 20,000 liters of oil, to be distributed as needed. “We are looking for solutions for everyone’s stocks“, he concedes.
Kevin Dirand, for his part, is not faced with this problem. “We have a supplier who imposes nothing on us.“A godsend for him who uses two 5-litre cans a week.
“It’s the snake that bites its tail”
“We are considering raising our prices.“, admits AGM*, manager of a snack bar near Jean Médecin. Behind him, his fryer is boiling.”We work with students. It’s complicated for them, they don’t have a lot of money. You can’t raise prices like that“Even for employees, the bill remains salty:”They only pay with restaurant tickets. Imagine, they have a ticket for €7.50. I can’t post a price at 9€, it wouldn’t work for them“.
However, for Kevin Dirand, it’s an idea that you have to get used to. “If in two months, the situation is still the same, we will have to inflate the prices“In question, the cost of sunflower oil, but not only: diesel for transport, other raw materials such as meat…”It’s the snake that bites its tail in the end! It never ends.“
Another problem in this case: the few possible solutions to replace sunflower oil. “I thought of making potatoes in the oven, with a little olive oil… It’s borderline if the two are not the same price now!“, Kevin Dirand jokes. For the moment, the restaurateur has resigned himself to staying with fries.”I filter my oil more, and I would play on the prices. I’m really not one to give less to my clients…” He concludes: “We are forced to do things that we did not necessarily do before.“
Christophe Souques-Bonnet sees no alternative either. “We can’t use oil of animal origin because of our vegetarian customers. And some vegetable oils degrade above 160°C.“But the vice-president is waiting before being alarmist. He is counting on the start of summer, and in particular the harvest of sunflowers in France.
AGM* does not want to change oil. “The quality of the fry is not the same.“But he wonders about the ingredients of his cans, now that France has authorized brands to change certain ingredients without necessarily marking him.”I wouldn’t even know what to say to my customers!“One thing is certain, as Kevin Dirand calls it, sunflower oil has become their”gold bar“.